For Some Diabetics, Answer May Be Surgery

Diet, exercise, medication less effective for obese patients with Type 2 diabetes
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2012 10:07 AM CDT
A medical assistant holds an insulin pen administered to diabetes patients at a private clinic in New Delhi on November 8, 2011. India is facing a twin epidemic of diabetes and high blood pressure, doctors...   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – It almost sounds too good to be true: You're obese, and suffering from Type 2 diabetes—how to best control your blood sugar? You can get on a strict regimen of diet, exercise, and medicine ... or just undergo weight-loss surgery. If surgery seems like the slightly easier solution, it turns out it's also the more effective one. Two new studies, one out of Italy, the other conducted in the US, studied the effects of the two routes, and found that reducing the size, and in some cases the placement, of the stomach allowed many subjects to get off their medication—within weeks.

And while diabetes experts caution that surgery is "not yet" the cure-all, the research indicates it should no longer be considered "a last resort." The studies reviewed patients who had undergone one of three bariatric surgeries, and found that the more extreme the surgery—the most extreme being a procedure in which the stomach is downsized and relocated—the more radical the results, with 95% of Italians in the most extreme group experiencing remission of the disease. Some of the US patients had been taking as many as a dozen medications; in a year, 78% of those who had gastric bypass were off them all, reports the Los Angeles Times.

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